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Old 05-30-2019, 08:43 PM   #121
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I believe I went with the Wesbasto because I could save a bit of money. Espar charges ~$300 for the high altitude kit, while the Wesbasto can just be programmed for high altitude.

Also, Espar doesn’t have the 2.2 kW heater with petrol, you have to get the B4, which jacks the cost up even further.

I think the 2.2 kW will be adequate, so I didn’t want to spent the extra money.

Both units had mixed reviews, so it seemed like the quality and performance is equivalent.

Time will tell if it was the right choice.

Thanks
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:51 AM   #122
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2012 E-350 EB V10, 4x4, CCV Top

Electrical Cabinet



A few weeks ago, before I finished the insulation and wall covering, I ran the wiring through the van and terminated the wire runs just aft of the wheel well on the passenger side.


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After cleaning up and labeling the wires.

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I am pretty sure I over-engineered this electrical system. I used marine grade wire and most of the wire gauges are probably oversized.


I had built a cabinet just for the electrical equipment, so I moved the cabinet into the shop and built out most of the electrical in the shop. I won't try to explain the entire system, but let the photos do the talking. If anyone sees anything grossly wrong or has any suggestions, please let me know.

The system has 2 100 amp/hour lithium batteries. They will be charged by either 400 watts of solar, a Xantrex 2000 W inverter/charger or by the van alternator.

I was a little surprised I fit it all in the available space.

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To keep the cabinet cool I installed a 4” temperature controller computer fan. Also, the cabinet doors will be perforated sheet aluminum to allow for air flow.

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After doing what I could in the shop, I move the cabinet into the van and finished the wiring.


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As you can see, my wife gave me a label maker for Christmas, so I went a little crazy with the labels.


For alternator wiring, I had ran a positive and negative 2/0 cable from the engine compartment, underneath the van along the frame, to the rear passenger corner. The cables penetrated the van floor at that back corner. I used rubber grommets to protect the wires as they passed through the metal floor.

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I still need to put the wire loom on the shore power cord.



Under the hood, I mounted the Precision Circuits Lithium Battery Isolation Manager. There was just barely enough room to mount this just above the battery. I still need to fab a plastic cover to protect the positive terminals.

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The next steps are to complete the final wiring of the lights, switches and other fixtures. I still need to finish the shore power connection in the rear bumper. I also need to build a small wall mounted switch panel to hold the light switches, battery monitor and inverter/charger displays.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:48 AM   #123
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Electrical Control Panel


This week I built and installed the electrical control panel. I first build a small cabinet that will fit below the rail at the original roof line that CCV installed. This cabinet will hold all the switches and wiring. It will also hold 3 LED lights over the kitchen countertop.



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The door of the cabinet is the panel, so I had to cut and drill all the openings for the switches and control panels.

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The next step was installing the cabinet and complete the wiring. I always struggle when doing finish wiring. I am afraid of cutting the wire too short, so too often the wire is too long to comfortably fit in the space. This time I think things will work out okay. The cabinet door has a piano hinge and uses magnet latches to hold it closed. I hope the magnets will hold because I don’t want to add a latch.

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The end of the cabinet has the exterior light switches and front of the cabinet has the interior lights, water pump, water heater and the BMS and inverter panels.

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We finished a few other things. I finished the shore power installation. The 30 amp plug was installed on the rear bumper.

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My wife also did an excellent job in making a screen door for the side door. The opening is sealed with magnets in each door and the perimeter of the screen uses magnets to hold it to the van.

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Next up is to re-install the cabinets, for hopefully the last time.
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:27 AM   #124
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Looks awesome! You guys are dumpin a lot of love in that van and since you built it you won’t have to call sportsmobile for answers...
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:00 AM   #125
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Sofa Install and Final Cabinet Install

This week I was able to build the enclosure around the base of the sofa bed. I used 1/2" Baltic birch plywood covered in laminate. I also built the drawer front for the under sofa drawer.

I attached the seat belts to the brackets on the sofa frame and bolted the sofa in place using 1/2" bolts that passed through the floor into 1/4" backer plates under the van. It is nice to have the sofa done and in place.

We went from this $50 old RV sofa:

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To this:

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Next was cutting, welding and painting:

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Back from the upholsterer and final installation:

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I also reinstalled all the cabinets, for hopefully the last time. Now on to building doors and drawers.

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Old 06-23-2019, 12:59 PM   #126
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Have to share; at first glance of the Pic with the couch in it I thought your were nuts - But as I viewed the rest of the pic's I quickly turned to amazed - your transformation was brilliant! Looks great.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:28 PM   #127
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Pretty much a "how to" for building out a van. Your electrical work is impeccable!
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:57 AM   #128
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Cabinet Doors


For the cabinet doors and drawer fronts I decided to use foam core construction. The main advantage would be reduced weight. But there are other advantages, such as a very flat door that should not warp or bend.


For a weight comparison I calculated the weight of the foam/poplar construction verses 3/4” MDF or Baltic Birch. I think 1/2” MDF is pretty flat, but you need 3/4” BB to get a somewhat flat door.

The foam construction is about 30 lbs lighter than 1/2” MDF and 50 lbs lighter than 3/4” BB. In the big picture, not a lot of weight, but it was fun to try something new.


The construction process is to build a 2” wide frame from poplar. I used 1/2” deep stub tenons for the joints to construct the frame.

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The frames were then sanded in a drum sander to the exact thickness of the foam. This ended up slightly more than 5/8”. The foam cores were then cut to fit inside the frame.

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I rough cut two pieces of laminate to the approximate size. I decided to spray the contact cement rather than roll or brush it on. During testing, I found that rolling the cement on the foam sometimes caused the foam to dissolve if excessive cement was left upon the foam.


Spraying allowed me to easier control the amount of cement in different location. I put a heavier coat of cement on the poplar frame at the edges vs the foam core. This worked very well and at this point the laminate appears to be permanently bonded. I also had the equipment for spraying and extra contact cement left over from gluing the foam and fabric on the walls.

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After spraying the cement, I used a roller to ensure good adhesion.


The next step was to trim the laminate flush with the edge of the doors.

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I cut a slot for the T-molding and installed/trimmed the T-molding.

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Next i added the hardware and installed the doors in the van.

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I used 1/2” BB plywood to build some drawer boxes. I had to add a cutout on the front of the drawer to accommodate the drawer latch. I also used some T-molding on the top edge of the drawer box to add some durability.

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The drawer fronts and the hardware was added to the drawer boxes and installed in the van.

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Overall, I am pretty happy with this foam core construction. It wasn’t difficult and not too expensive. We will see how durable the doors are over time. I always assumed that if they fall apart, I could reuse the hardware and rebuild them with MDF.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:41 PM   #129
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Sweet. Be interested in how they hold up long term. Look great.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:44 AM   #130
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2012 E-350 EB V10, 4x4, CCV Top

Countertop Build and Install


When it came to selecting the coutertop material, I was looking for something that was light weight and cheap. My wife wanted granite (heavy and expensive). We finally decided on a solid surface material (Corian). It is slightly lighter than granite and a little cheaper. It was also easy to work with and shape with woodworking tools.

We found a piece of Corian that someone was tearing out of their laundry room and bought it for $70. It was in good shape with only a few scratches that I could remove with sanding.

In the van I made a template of the top of the cabinets where the countertop would go. I used long thin strips of wood to outline the shape of the countertop. Like everything in the van, the back edge of the countertop had to be shaped to match the curvature of the van. I used hot glue to hold the template together.

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Using the template I traced the outline onto the slab of Corian. It was pretty easy to cut using a jigsaw with a wood cutting blade. You just have to go slow.

The Corian is only 12mm thick. To give the illusion of a thicker piece, without the weight or cost, I glued a 2inch wide strip to the underside of the slab. This makes it 1 inch thick, which I think good for this size of countertop. I cut the strip on the tablesaw.

Normally, the countertop installers use an epoxy kit from the manufacturer with color matched epoxy. The kit includes the 2 part adhesive and a mixing gun. It would have cost much more than our slab of Corian and probably 10X adhesive than I need. It is also difficult to obtain and I believe they only sell it to countertop installers.

I used clear 5-minute epoxy from Home Depot. It is the same type of adhesive, but not color matched. I did a few tests and found that if you have a nice tight joint between the two pieces, the joint will be invisible after sanding. I used the drum sander to ensure the pieces fit together tight.

Before gluing the edging to the slab, I hot glued small pieces of wood to the bottom side of the slab. This provides a stop to keep the edge pieces from moving. They are triangular so only a corner is touching the edge piece. This minimizes the wood pieces from being glued to the slab by the epoxy squeeze-out. The epoxy is mixed and I used a putty knife to apply it. I put spring clamps every 3-4 inches to hold the edge pieces in place while the epoxy dried.

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After letting it dry for a couple of hours, I remove the clamps and wood pieces. To flush up and straighten the edge I used the router with a flush trim bit. A wood straight edge was used a the guide. I also rounded the corners with a radius template. A 1/8” radius roundover bit was used to ease the sharp edges of the countertop.

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The countertop was finished by sanding the edge and top with progressively higher grits of sandpaper. I used a random-orbiting sander and started with 120 grit. This is used to feather out any deep scratches and smooth out the cut edges of the slab. I then progressed up to 400 grit. This gave more of a satin finish, which is what I like. You could keep sanding up to 1000 grit and then use polishing compound to get a gloss finish, but we chose to stop at 400 grit.

I cut the hole for the sink and attached some 1/2” plywood to the bottom to provide support where the slab rests on the cabinets. The plywood was attached with silicon caulk. The wood also gives a spot to screw into when attaching the top to the cabinets.

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I attached the countertop to the cabinets and attached small strips of Corian as a backsplash. This will keep water or other items from rolling off the back of the countertop. The sink was installed and the countertop was done.

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